THEY know that the road to victory will not be easy, but some candidates for senator entered the race just the same, believing that fighting for their cause is worth the sacrifice and hoping that a miracle will turn the tide in their favor.
Philhealth Director Risa Hontiveros and the virtually unknown Rep. Cresente Paez of Coop-Natcco party-list and former Interior Assistant Secretary Ina Ambolodto are among the candidates seeking a seat at the Senate. All three will run under the ruling Liberal Party (LP).
“I’m happy to be in this fight [again]. I am confident that this time, we are going to win, because of three reasons also. Gusto ko patunayan na ang Senado ay hindi lang para sa malalaking pangalan, na kailangan natin ng kinatawan sa universal healthcare, at ang pagpapatuloy ng adbokasiya na anti-corruption (I want to prove that the Senate is not only for those with prominent surnames, that we need a representative who will push for universal healthcare and anti-corruption efforts),” Hontiveros, who will be running for the Senate for the third time, told reporters after the proclamation of the administration’s Senate slate in Balay, Quezon City.
Hontiveros garnered nine million votes in 2010 to finish 13th in the race. She got 10.9 million votes in 2013, but she finished 17th place. In both instances, she got the backing of the LP.
“I can’t say it gets easier because it has always been hard. It has always been a challenge because I don’t have a prominent political pedigree, but I am happy to be in this fight. The challenge is daunting but we will never stop pounding at the glass ceiling,” Hontiveros, one of the authors of the Reproductive Health law and a former Akbayan representative, added.
Paez admitted that running for a Senate seat was a scene out of his wildest imagination, but like Hontiveros, he believes the fight is worth taking the chance.
“When it was first presented to me, I felt it was Mission Impossible. I don’t belong to those who have big names, but there could be a powerhouse in cooperatives. It’s about time that the development of cooperatives is recognized because it would be a win for the people, not just for myself,” Paez, who is on his third and last term in the House of Representatives, pointed out.
“We have a wide network. There are water cooperatives; bank cooperatives…and I see it as another dimension of the campaign. As a party-list lawmaker, I am used to campaigning for advocacy, not on personality,” he added.
The Senate slot was offered to Paez by LP standard bearer Manuel “Mar” Roxas 2nd.
Marikina City Rep. Romero Quimbo, the spokesperson of the ruling party, brushed aside claims that Paez and Ambolodto are mere “fillers” for the LP slate that suddenly had two open slots with the backing out of former Chairman Francis Tolentino of the Metropolitan Manila Development Authority and Muntinlupa Rep. and former Sen. Rodolfo “Pong” Biazon.
“We wanted a broad-based slate. She (Ambolodto) represents a big aspect of our population, the Muslims, and she herself is a very accomplished leader in the Department of Interior and Local Government and highly educated,” Quimbo said.
“It would be an insult to our candidates and the party to say that they are just fillers because a lot of people were into shoving their way just to get into our slate. But in the end, those who have the competence to continue good governance are the ones who made it. They were chosen because of competence and principle,” Quimbo added.